January 28, 2011


This last General Conference (October 2010) was great and I really enjoyed the messages presented.  One topic that was addressed and stuck out a little to me was the topic of agency.  I hadn't really thought too much on this subject because it seemed relatively simple.  Agency is our ability to choose.  Isn't that it?  Apparently there was something else I needed to learn from this gospel concept.

Agency was essential to the Plan of Salvation

Elder Hales gave an excellent talk on how:
Our agency—our ability to choose and act for ourselves—was an essential element of this plan. Without agency we would be unable to make right choices and progress. Yet with agency we could make wrong choices, commit sin, and lose the opportunity to be with Heavenly Father again. For this reason a Savior would be provided to suffer for our sins and redeem us if we would repent. By His infinite Atonement, He brought about “the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice.”

We all have to make choices in our lives.  Some of them don't matter, but others do.  We need to focus on making the right decisions with the choices that matter.  I've learned through some experiences of my own that  when we make bad choices, the number of choices we have goes down.  The converse of this statement is also true: when we make right choices, we're able to choose more freely.  Take Elder Hales example for instance:
"Whenever we choose to come unto Christ, take His name upon us, and follow His servants, we progress along the path to eternal life.
In our mortal journey, it is helpful to remember that the opposite is also true: when we don’t keep the commandments or follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, our opportunities are reduced; our abilities to act and progress are diminished. When Cain took his brother’s life because he loved Satan more than God, his spiritual progress was stopped.
In my youth I learned an important lesson about how our actions may limit our freedom. One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.
Whenever we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. Though we are spiritually stuck, there is always a way back. Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it."

May we all continue to choose to come unto Christ.  We'll be so much more happier not only in this life, but in the life to come. 

January 22, 2011


As missionaries we are "expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of [our] mission president."1  There is a power behind keeping all of God's commandments and it is illustrated in this quote by President Benson:

“When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power”2

We should be obedient even when this isn't the popular thing to do.  This can be hard at times, but we will still receive the promised blessings.

"At times we may rationalize that the Lord will understand our disobedience because our special circumstances make adherence to His laws difficult, embarrassing, or even painful. However, faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task, will bring the Lord's guidance, assistance, and peace."3

Let us all remember the great blessings that come from being obedient and enjoy living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

"When we are obedient, we receive blessings; when we are perfectly obedient, miracles occur."4

"Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."5
1.  Missionary Handbook pg 3-4
2.   President Ezra Taft Benson.  http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=2232  
3.  Bruce A. Carlson.  http://lds.org/ensign/2010/05/when-the-lord-commands?lang=eng  
4.  President Larry. H Gardner
5.  Doctrine and Covenants 64:34.  http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/64.34?lang=eng#33

January 20, 2011

America's Choir

******30 YEARS AGO TODAY****** 
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, aka, America's Choir, sings Battle Hymn of the Republic
to Ronald Reagan on 1/20/81 at the Inaugural Parade.

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is a hymn by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the abolitionist song "John Brown's Body". Howe's more famous lyrics were written in November 1861 and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It became popular during the American Civil War. Since that time it has become an extremely popular and well-known American patriotic song.

In 1960 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir won the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The 45 rpm single record, which was arranged and edited by Columbia Records and Cleveland disk jockey Bill Randle, was an unlikely commercial success and reached #13 on Billboard's Hot 100 the previous autumn.

January 14, 2011


Whenever I think about scriptures on faith I always think about Hebrews 11 and Alma 32.  Both of these passages provide us with the basic principle of faith.  Alma 32:21 says that faith is "not to have a perfect knowledge of things," but to "hope for things which are not seen, which are true."  At first, this idea of hoping for things we can't see is pretty abstract and hard to understand.  But I like how Alma further explains this and compares the idea of faith to a seed so even a child can understand it.  The LDS Children's song book provides a great song on faith that explains it well:

Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day.
Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.
 Faith is like a little seed: If planted, it will grow.
Faith is a swelling within my heart. When I do right, I know.

Faith is trust in God above; In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow Whenever I obey.

Hebrews 11 states that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement is central to our beliefs as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I've never seen Christ, but I have a deep faith that He lives and loves me.  I know that following His teachings will bring us greater happiness in this life and in the life to come.  May we all continue to live His teachings and "choose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Hebrews 11:25

January 12, 2011

The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.  He is a personage of Spirit, not having a body of flesh and bones.  This means that He can dwell within each one of us.  I like to portray this as the influence of the sun.  There is only one sun, but it's warmth and light can be felt by all. 

His primary purposes are to bear witness of the Father and the Son, reveal the truth of all things, and to sanctify those who have repented and become baptized.   There are many 'voices' that compete for our attention in this busy world and they can easily drown out spiritual impressions if we're not careful.  The voice of the spirit is distinct in the way that it:
-is a still voice of perfect mildness Helaman 5:30
-is a still small voice 1 Kings19:12
-pierces to the very soul 3 Nephi 11:3
-causes our hearts to burn 3 Nephi 11:3
Listening to the quiet whisperings of the spirit comes in a variety of ways including experiencing feelings, thoughts, and impressions.  Some of these feelings include love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith, and hope.  Who wouldn't want to feel any of those feelings?  We need to strive constantly to listen to these promptings and valiantly and courageously act on them.  Doing so will give us better direction in our lives, all of the aforementioned feelings, and the constant companionship of one of the members of the Godhead.  I testify that having the Holy Spirit as our companion is vital in everything we do.

January 6, 2011

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Fundamental to our beliefs as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is our belief in the Book of Mormon.  This book is miraculous in nature and has many insights on the principles of Jesus Christ.  Joseph Smith Jr. translated and published this ancient-American record in March 1830.  It is a record of a people that populated the American continent and covers their history from around 600 B.C. to approximately 421 A.D.   The climax of the Book of Mormon is found in the middle of the record when Jesus Christ appears to the people there soon after being resurrected.  Reading from and pondering the Book of Mormon will increase your faith in Jesus Christ as well as an increase your desire and ability to follow His teachings.  You can find out for yourself that the truths taught in the Book of Mormon are true by asking God.  What do you have to lose?  I have asked my Father in Heaven if this record is true and He has answered my prayer.  I have enjoyed the peace that this brings into my life.  This is why I have sacrificed two years of my life: to share what I have learned with others.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that living the teachings contained therein will bring greater happiness in this life as well as in the life to come.  

January 1, 2011

Look Not Behind Thee

Why do we have New Years Resolutions?  Aren't we all perfect the way we are?  Of course not, we all have things to work on and improve, that's why we set these goals.  However, a lot of the time I think that we look at all of the negative things we do, when we should be looking to the future.

Many of us focus on the things of the past.  Our Heavenly Father, however, has an eternal perspective and sees us where we are, where we can be, and how we can get there.  We should look forward for this new year and set goals that will help us get where we need to be.  Don't look back on the past sins and transgressions of yester-year, but rather focus on what we can do this year, this month, this week, this day, and this hour.  Remember:

Faith Points to the Future

Forgive and Forget

The Best Is Yet to Be

Leaving the Past in the Past

The Best is yet to Be
By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...